By: Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)
CBS became the first third party casualty of #TheRayRiceEffect.
CBS was airing the first Thursday Night Football game of the NFL season which included Ray Rice's former team the Baltimore Ravens squaring off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Three days prior, footage of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiance in a Revel Casino elevator back in February was released and CBS subsequently removed the Rihanna-featured song "Run This Town" from a planned segment in the Thursday night telecast telecast. In replace of the Barbadian songstress were updates on the Ray Rice situation, which at the time of the broadcast already included an indefinite suspension from the NFL for the former Baltimore Ravens running back, a televised interview with the NFL Commissioner (on CBS) and a law enforcement agent proclaiming that the footage was sent to the NFL. CBS Sports chairman admitted, in an interview with the Associated Press, that her 2009 domestic violence incident with Chris Brown "was among several factors considered but was not the overriding one."
For CBS, debuting the Don Cheadle-narrated segment featuring Rihanna on "Run This Town" for its upcoming Thursday Night Football airing is a no-brainer programming decision. For Rihanna, it's further evidence of the company's disrespect:
What would possess CBS to submit to perceived pressures from a highly publicized domestic violence case by removing any correlative association with it by punishing the victim in the most publicized domestic violence case?
That NFL green that isn't a proverbial landmine field.
In 2013, NFL games accounted for 34 of the 35 most watched television programs of the fall. Not just sports programming, ALL television programming. CBS inked a $275 million deal to air the NFL's Thursday Night Football games three months after it aired the most watched television program of the fall, the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Oakland Raiders Thanksgiving Game. That's not even including an 8 year/$9 billion extension CBS signed with the NFL back in 2011 which goes into effect this year.
Rihanna is further evidence of the statute of limitation that is arbitrarily placed on shock by corporations. State Farm rejoined as a sponsor for the Los Angeles Clippers before 1. Donald Sterling was officially removed as the owner and 2. before giving enough time to see if the same people who acquiesced Sterling's racism did not choose another owner with deleterious personal shortcomings. Rihanna's HD quality bruises reside in the recesses of popular culture (and especially Corporate America's) collective conscience. Not at the forefront where the mere sight of Chris Brown in public insites vitriol-filled thinkpieces. But not deep enough where a corporation with nearly $10 billion invested in an entity being ravaged by domestic abuse convictions, indictments and footage placed on a news loop would not instantly recall the 2009 incident when it's associated with their business.
CBS abused its power and Rihanna will not be a victim this time.